Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Courtesy of House Democrats

A former state lawmaker is running to become the mayor of Michigan’s second-largest city.

If you pay attention to Grand Rapids politics at all, you’ve probably heard of Robert Dean. He served on the Grand Rapids school board in the 1990s, and then the city commission for years.

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

Top state officials haven’t had a pay raise since 2002, and most of them took a 10% pay cut a few years ago, as Michigan was beginning to struggle back from the recession.

Now, however, unemployment is at its lowest level in 14 years and state revenues are growing. Is this new economic situation fostering an appetite in Lansing for a pay raise?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Neither of Michigan’s U.S. Senators likes a deal that would give President Obama the authority to negotiate a major trade deal with Pacific nations.

There are congressional hearings on the legislation this week.

dickelsberg/police patches / wikimedia commons

The Michigan State Police will hold a recruitment day in Troy on Saturday, April 25 to try to boost the number of female applicants for trooper positions.

Only about 10% of Michigan State Police troopers are women.  

Sgt. Michele Sosinski is with the recruiting division at the agency. She says there are many benefits internally to having women serve alongside men.

"And of course, we want to reflect the communities that we're serving, and with half of Michigan being female, we're nowhere near that number."

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The EPA says it cannot forgive loans the city of Flint took out 15 years ago to improve its water system. The federal agency responded this week in a letter to U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, who made the inquiry last month.

Kildee says he’s disappointed, but still hopeful they can figure something out.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the next month, a Flint attorney expects to file for an injunction to force the city go back to getting its tap water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

A year ago, the city of Flint flipped a switch, cutting off the DWSD pipeline. Since then, Flint has gotten its water from the Flint River.

It's about to get easier to buy a home in Detroit

Apr 16, 2015
House Hands
thinkpanama / Creative Commons

A zero-down mortgage without closing costs, fees or a credit check probably sounds too good to be true, but it's about to become a reality for some Detroit home buyers.

Mayor Mike Duggan Thursday announced a new mortgage program to make it easier to finance a home in the city.

user H.L.I.T. / Flickr

The Michigan Senate has taken an initial step toward overhauling Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system.

The legislation would set limits on what hospitals could charge insurance companies. It would also cap what insurers can be charged for in-home care for people severely injured in car accidents.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage later this month, and a group of young conservatives is pushing to change the Republican Party platform on gay marriage.

Legislation could help kids get hearing aids

Apr 15, 2015
Senator Dale Zorn Miss Michigan KT Maviglia
senatordalezorn.com

A Michigan lawmaker is teaming up with Miss Michigan to make it easier for children with hearing loss to get devices to help them hear.

State Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and KT Maviglia of Dundee are joining forces on a bill that would require health insurers to cover the cost of hearing aids.

Under the bill, insurers would cover new devices at least once every three years for kids up to age 21.

Maviglia was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at the age of nine.

After she got her hearing aids, she said school became "a game of catch-up."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is proposing budget cuts that include asking employees to sacrifice.

"And trust me, every county employee has a right to be mad about this,” Evans said during the first in a series of community meetings where he is outlining the State of the County.

Evans says if the county is going to eliminate its annual deficit and restore underfunded pension funds, there will have to be cuts. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New emergency managers have been picked to run the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts.   

Steve Schiller will take over as emergency manager at Muskegon Heights, where he worked as a teacher and administrator for 30 years. During the last few years, he’s worked as a consultant for other emergency managers.

Released by the family

A Michigan Congressman took to the U.S House floor today to ask Congress not to forget Flint native Amir Hekmati and other Americans imprisoned in Iran.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, made his comments alongside a large photo of Hekmati and a tally of days he's sat in prison - 1,324. 

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

The law that allows some Michigan school districts, businesses, and households to buy electricity from a competitor to their regional utility was the central issue in a state House hearing. It was part of the Legislature’s preparations to decide how to overhaul Michigan’s energy policies.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor and city council are getting a pay raise. 

They are going back to their salary levels before the state takeover.

Flint’s elected leaders saw their salaries reduced to zero when the first emergency manager stepped in in December, 2011. Since then, as their roles running the city were slowly restored, their pay checks grew. 

Olympia Development

There was a lot of frustrated head-shaking at city hall in Detroit today, as the city council yet again delayed a vote to let construction get going on the $650 million Red Wing arena and entertainment district.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows four in five Michigan voters have made up their minds about next month’s ballot question that would hike the state sales tax.

But the man who took the poll is taking the result with a grain of salt.

Mark Grebner, with Practical Political Consulting, says it’s not unusual to see consistent poll numbers going into a vote on a ballot question.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

 

Governor Rick Snyder says one of his long-term ambitions is to improve Michigan’s access to electricity by extending the power grid to connect the upper and lower peninsulas.

The Upper Peninsula has just one major power plant, which is operating under a special deal struck with the state. The rest of the UP’s electricity has to come through Wisconsin.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is urging his colleagues in U.S. House to pass a resolution calling on the Canadian government and the Obama administration to halt the creation of a nuclear storage waste site. The site would be built about a mile from Lake Huron.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke to Rep. Kildee about what the proposed site could mean for Michigan and the possible impact of his resolution.

Here's their conversation:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman is standing by his statement that the city’s water situation amounts to a “genocide” by Governor Snyder and Flint’s emergency manager.

Councilman Wantwaz Davis made the original “genocide” charge on his Facebook page last Sunday. 

“Either they are trying to run us out of here, the low/moderate income people,” says Davis, “Or inadvertently or intentionally - I hope that it’s inadvertently - I think that it’s going to create a genocide.”

Rebecca Kruth

The federal government this week closed its annual application period for H-1B visas after applications exceeded the annual cap of 65,000.

Some Michigan business leaders are calling for the government to raise the cap, which they say hurts the state’s economic growth.

CAIR

The Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. government to evacuate American citizens trapped by the conflict in Yemen. 

"The U.S. government has done absolutely nothing to protect, evacuate and repatriate its own citizens, estimated at 55,000,- that are currently stranded in Yemen," said Lena Masri, staff attorney at CAIR Michigan. 

Struggling to repay student loans is something that unites many of us. Across the country, almost 40 million people are trying to repay $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Here in Michigan, 1.5 million people are trying to erase more than $39 billion in debt.

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, was on the campus of the University of Michigan, where she hosted a roundtable on college affordability.

Dingell is one of the sponsors of a bill in the House called the "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Reinforcement Act."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is looking to borrow its way out of its budget deficit.

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose wants to ask the Michigan Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board for a $7 million loan.   

The term of the loan would not exceed 15 years and the interest rate would not exceed 3%. Annual payments on such a loan would be less than $600,000 annually. 

Job cuts as Michigan closes regional prison stores

Apr 8, 2015

Michigan is slated to close three regional prison stores in Ionia, Jackson, and the Upper Peninsula.

That means around 30 employees who staff the stores will lose their jobs.

The stores stock items like toiletries and food, which inmates can purchase through an electronic kiosk system.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler talks about the $478 billion federal highway bill, which faces uncertain reception in Congress, and how it would benefit state highway and bridge work.
  • Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com discusses why the forecasted gas prices for this summer  are so low.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Flint pastors today called on the city and governor’s office to let Flint get its tap water from Detroit again.

Nearly a year ago, Flint stopped getting water from Detroit, and instead turned to the Flint River for its tap water.   

Since then there have been complaints about the appearance, taste, even health and safety of Flint’s tap water. 

FLICKR USER SEAN_MARSHALL / FLICKR

The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

Wikimedia Commons

Michigan voters head to the polls in less than a month to vote on a ballot proposal to raise the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to fund roads. For this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry explains why there's a lack of support for the proposal and what will happen if voters reject the tax increase. 


Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Detroit's City Council is delaying a vote that would let the new, multi-million dollar Red Wings arena move ahead.

It was supposed to decide today whether Olympia development could go ahead with its current plans to build around one historic hotel, the Eddystone, while razing another, the Park Avenue.

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